Animal abuse comes in many forms. There are obvious signs, such as open wounds, limping, poor skin conditions and emaciation.
There are behavioral indicators, too, such as tucking a tail between its legs, cowering and withdrawing from human touch. Those signs are absolutely heartbreaking to a rescuer trying to save abused animals.
Ruby arrived at a veterinary clinic with a bad limp. She shied away from all humans and stiffened at every attempt to show her affection.
The staffers managed to gingerly set her on the table for an exam because they believed she needed a CT scan for her hip due to how she walked. She’s rigid while they try and comfort her, an IV attached to her leg full of a sedative coursing through her.
It turns out Ruby definitely had been abused and then abandoned by a hunter.
The vet techs rest their hands on different parts of her body in the hopes that the pressure will alleviate her nervousness.
It’s the same premise behind a “thunder jacket,” which is similar to swaddling an infant where gentle, constant pressure is applied to a dog or cat’s torso. Research on both humans and animals suggests that this type of pressure can release a calming hormone such as oxytocin or endorphins.
While staring at Ruby, you can see how she relaxes just a tiny bit, but her face is still riddled with apprehension. Finally, the sedation takes ahold and she begins to grow drowsy.
She’s been experiencing significant pain and seems stiff to staffers when she stands up and lies down. She just doesn’t seem to be able to fully cope with the humans around her even though they only want to help her.
More medication is administered after she briefly seems restless. They help Ruby lie down completely on the table.
Then she’s intubated and completely unconsciously. She slides into the tube for her test.
While she reclines, you can clearly see her bones protruding. Even though she’s a lean dog, she’s been starved, too.
There’s such sadness in this girl’s soulful brown eyes.
The CT scan reveals that her hip isn’t just broken, but it’s shattered.
After she awakens from the procedure, Ruby is helped out of her kennel and struggles to stand. Her hip bones and ribs jut out.
She’s attached to the vet tech’s leash and takes one step with her, then tries to scamper off back to her kennel. The vet tech leads her down the hall where you can see the telltale limp that comes with a broken hip.
Ruby isn’t as skittish as before, seemingly growing more and more comfortable with her surroundings. Fast forward three weeks and it’s time for Ruby to meet her furever family.
It’s a miracle!
Her tail wags ever so slightly then quickly tucks right between her legs. Her new mom and dad squat down to her eye level to say hi.
The vet tech tries to draw her closer to her new family, but she’s quite hesitant. Finally, Ruby allows her new mom to caress her face.
She can feel the gentleness in the woman’s touch. The man lightly rubs down the back of her head, her neck and her back, and Ruby doesn’t run away.
She seems to be warming up to the people who want to take her home with them.
As her new dad turns to move a bit, she realizes she likes the attention and Ruby follows him.
Unexpectedly, Ruby’s new mom kisses her — it’s the dog’s first-ever kiss in a short life filled with abuse.
It catches Ruby off guard, but the vet tech takes advantage of the situation and smothers her with smooches all over her face and head. It’s incredible that she doesn’t once flinch or panic with all the attention.
Mom plasters her with kisses and Ruby relishes the affection. She’s come a long way in such a short amount of time!
Another staffer shows the couple how to help Ruby through rehab and she patiently lies still for it, Mom and Dad caressing her the whole time. Then there are even more smooches for the once-shy girl who seems to be soaking it all up.
They pet Ruby sweetly, chat with her and walk out the door with their new girl. She settles comfortably on a cushion in their car.
She truly seems to be smiling!
Watch Ruby’s journey from abused, forlorn and frightened to grinning happily in the back seat of her new Mom and Dad’s car. It’s amazing!
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